As a 28-year-old in 1981, Dick Whittington spent 10 days writing a 24-song soft rock opera influenced by the music of Pink Floyd, The Moody Blues, Simon and Garfunkel, Cat Stevens and Leonard Cohen.
After 41 years, the 69-year-old who is now retired in Noosa, will finally see his work brought to the stage this month when A Journey into Time will be performed one-night only in Noosa to support two local charities.
“I just started with this inspiration about wanting to write a series of songs about man’s journey into space, so it’s as much an opera as it is a rock concert,” says Dick, who was a father-of-two and mining engineer in British Colombia, Canada, at the time.
“It was just one of those creative moments in life and, as I had no ambitions at the time to have it performed, I promptly put it into my song book folder and consigned it to the bottom drawer,” he says.
It gathered dust for 41 years until his daughter Sarah urged him, “Dad you’ve got to put this on the stage before you kick the bucket”.
The former CEO-turned-muso and philanthropist has no formal music training, he just plays what he hears in his head and his heart.
“Music is the salvation of our soul,” Dick says. “It’s a wonderful, peaceful, colourful medium that unites everyone in the world. It’s in all languages and touches people of all race, creed and gender. The magic is all derived from just 12 notes.”
Dick’s career as a mining CEO took him from Canada to Mexico, Papua New Guinea to Arizona and finally to Poland in 2019 where he retired.
His 12-string guitar, a gift from wife Gillian when they were first married, accompanied him the whole time while the music and songs were rattling around in his head.
In December 2021, At Sarah’s insistence, Dick took the first step towards seeing his rock opera vision performed on stage.
A visit to Music Noosa and JamPot Studio’s Tom Johnson, led to a collaboration with Tom and talented Coast musicians who will be performing the rock opera on stage.
Dave Barrie is on acoustic guitar; Josh “Pricey” Price, lead guitar; Nick Rivers, electric guitar; Brian Grose, bass guitar; Geoff Gill, drums; and Stan May, saxophone and flute.
Lead singer is Dylan Curnow with Madison Levi, and backup singers Amanda and Morgan and the Cooran Community Choir with Linda Perham.
A Journey into Time is a rock music journey into time, space and within yourself.
In the final act, The Odyssey Continues, the astronaut is in a new solar system by himself, facing the reality that he’s all alone with no way back to Earth.
“He is not alone, however, because music fills his soul and his spirits soar to the heavens. He is complete, content and at peace with the universe,” Dick says.
Dick and his wife Gillian are entirely funding staging of the performance so that 100 per cent of ticket sales will go to two local charities – The Salvation Army (Noosaville) and Katie Rose Cottage Hospice.
“I’m thrilled Dick is going to put his rock opera on stage after all these years but, more importantly, it’s a real privilege to be able to put on a charity concert for the two charities where I volunteer that are dedicated to supporting local people,” Gillian says.
Katie Rose Cottage Hospice head of fundraising Leigh McCready said that as a primarily community-funded hospice, it relied the generosity of supporters such as Gill and Dick.
The fundraiser has a $20,000 target and guests will be able to make contributions at donor desks in the foyer of The J.
Tickets are selling fast and seats can be secured online at
A Journey into Time at The J, Noosa, on Thursday, August 10, 7.30pm. Tickets $39. Book online thej.com.au